“We had never been to Key West before,” says Darling, who traveled from New York to celebrate his and Syre’s second anniversary together. “We loved it. It was like an American expatriate community in another country, with a really inclusive vibe.”
Darling and Syre were traveling on the cheap. They wanted a colorful bed and breakfast to celebrate and take a few photos.
“Key West is beautiful,” Darling says. “There was an endless parade of Hemingway impersonators, and I’ve never seen so many happy lesbians, all dolled up and on a mission to have a good time.”
The couple took these pictures in natural light in their own hotel room.
The photographs remind me of postwar honeymoon snapshots, when newlyweds headed south to Florida (and Cuba, back when it was legal) and holed up, got pregnant, drank drinks with umbrellas, and captured everything on slides. Hotel rooms were cheap and painted in pastels, and the floors were cold tile.
Syre’s shape is more reminiscent of pinups painted on the noses of airplanes than of mincing Size Zero porn stars biting their thumbs.
“We were in the pool with this Papa impersonator who’d been coming there for 20 years,” Darling says, “and the attendant said, ‘as soon as he goes, you can do anything you want in the pool, wink wink.’
“Key West is a delightful place,” he adds. “Part theme park, part time capsule. And Sovereign is just this very American girl. She just looked good there.”
“(But) We almost swam to Cuba,” Syre says via Twitter. “Then we remembered that America is better than Cuba.”
Darling and Syare have a unique partnership, and plan to perpetrate more of what he calls “guerilla erotica” around the country. I ask if their photographer/model relationship coexisted peacefully with the romantic one.
“We’re creative people,” Darling says. “And we’re sometimes difficult and passionate and tough to be around. I definitely include myself in that description…relationships are hard, but this one so rewarding.
“We have heated discussions about what photographs to post,” he says. “And I was worried about that shot of her on the toilet. I fell in love with her a little when she said that that was her favorite.”